My Two Census

Formerly the non-partisan watchdog of the 2010 US Census, and currently an opinion blog that covers all things political, media, foreign policy, globalization, and culture…but sometimes returning to its census/demographics roots.

Posts Tagged ‘media’

Groves to address the media

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

Let me know if you want me to ask any specific questions:

Census Bureau Director to Provide Update on
Status of 2010 Census Operations

What:             U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves will brief the media on the status of 2010 Census operations. Groves will discuss the status of quality assurance work being done in the field and the steps ahead in the data processing phase of the
census. The briefing will include a media question-and-answer session.

When:    Tuesday, Aug. 10, 10 to 11 a.m. (EDT)

Who:         Robert M. Groves, director, U.S. Census Bureau

Where:   National Press Club, 13th floor
First Amendment Lounge
529 14th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20045

Members of the media may also participate by telephone. (Please dial-in
early to allow time for the operator to place you in the call.)

Dial-in number:  888-603-8938
Passcode:  2010 CENSUS

Census Bureau “Media Specialists” cost taxpayers major $$$$ whenever they travel

Monday, June 21st, 2010

Here is a fascinating story from Louisiana that details an extremely cost inefficient policy…

BY STEPHEN LARGEN

The U.S. Census Bureau is using a travel policy for its media specialists that can cost taxpayers hundreds and even thousands of dollars for a single media interview.

Each time a media outlet like The News-Star requests to interview a census enumerator, a worker who goes door to door in local communities following up with residents who did not mail back their census questionnaires, Census Bureau policy dictates that a media specialist must be physically present at the site of the interview.

The bureau says the policy ensures enumerators do not unknowingly release information about their work that is supposed to remain confidential.

When The News-Star requested an interview with enumerators who are working in local neighborhoods for an update on how the process is unfolding, the bureau responded by flying a media specialist based in New Orleans to Monroe through Dallas.

The specialist stayed in a hotel the night before the roughly 30-minute interview, and used cab rides to travel while in Monroe.

Immediately following the interview with the enumerators, the media specialist headed back to Monroe Regional Airport and flew home

CLICK HERE for the rest of the story…

Must-Read: New York’s 2010 Census nightmare

Monday, June 7th, 2010

The following report comes from a Census Bureau official whose identity has been confirmed but will remain anonymous as she is a current Census Bureau employee:

The five boroughs of New York City and its diversified population of eight million have long eluded demographers and census employees in producing an accurate count. Having worked in three censuses now and living in New York for almost my entire adult life I notice that the socioeconomic spectrum of New Yorkers has widened, making the poor poorer and the rich richer. In the last ten years there is an influx of immigrants; some legal some illegal. It makes what was once a one family home in Queens, Brooklyn and The Bronx a two or even three family home. These people are living in converted basements or the second story of the houses some legal some illegal. On the other end of the spectrum, luxury rentals and condominiums have become even more exclusive with price tags in the millions of dollars. In both cases the immigrants and residents of these upscale housing units and their exclusive real estate management companies have ignored repeated attempts by phone or mail to allow enumeration.  Even in the face of a fine, the management companies are adamant about their policy and would willingly pay the fine rather than to allow enumerators to count their residents. The problem is the Census’ Bureau’s threat of a fine is merely used as a scare tactic. When a real estate mogul calls their bluff the actual fine like many other Census Bureau promises is empty.

As native New Yorkers we anticipated these problems. And sitting through four days of verbatim training where someone read through a book, we knew that it wasn’t as simple as the script made it to be to persuade these respondents about the importance of the census and their participation. As a group we brainstormed and created techniques through trial and error to get those who were non-responsive to fill out our questionnaires. Some of these tactics included: sending another enumerator of a different race or creed after several visits with no contact; leaving blank enumerator questionnaires under their door allowing them the privacy of completing it in their own home. One of us even went as far as sending well dressed suits or female fashion models to coerce participation. But all this takes time and money. All of which with 15 billion price tag the Census Bureau doesn’t have.

With inaccurate workload estimation models and front loading the Census Bureau overrecruited, overhired on many operations in preparation for the final major operation: non-response followup. One of the major costs was the paper based operational control system PBOCS which has been the subject of intense scrutiny by media, Congress and employees because of its inability to check out, check out and ship questionnaires and generate management reports. The managers who are monitoring productivity and costs are trained to believe if the reports don’t show it’s done then it isn’t done. With only erroneous reports to rely on, headquarters and regional offices are using a take no prisoners do whatever it takes attitude to pressure temporary employees to complete the task. PBOCS also moves assignment areas fooling LCO managers and field staff into thinking they have more or less work than they have. And ultimately this may have long term geography problems when the Census is completed and used for congressional redistricting.

Since PBOCS doesn’t work correctly and fails to handle the workload, The Census Bureau runs on a more is better attitude. The solution is hire more employees for manually counting and reviewing enumerator questionnaires when they should have slowed enumerator production. Local Census offices have gone from a simple 9am-5:30pm operation to running three shifts 24 hours a day seven days a week with triple to quadruple what their staffing authorizations originally allowed. This compounded the bottleneck, increased the backlog of questionnaires waiting to be checked in and slowed the re -interview and quality assurance phase. There is overwhelming suspicion of data falsification and false proxies but by the time this is figured out the operation will end and the enumerators already released for lack of work.

Now what was originally touted as the most accurate decennial count ever has quickly turned into a race to meet production goals and wrap up the operation as quickly as possible with procedural changes.  We have enumerators, telephone clerks in the LCO, and enumerators from other LCOs taking interviews ignoring the fact that PBOCS will only let you check it in under an enumerator and that if data falsification is happening it will be difficult to find the culprit. What were originally any six personal and telephone visits is now three visits go to a proxy. What used to be try to get the household member because he knows his own name, sex, age, DOB, Hispanic origin and race and whether he rents or owns has become going to a proxy on a first visit and sometimes writing don’t know on most if not all of those questions. Sadly this actually passes the office review portion and nothing in the enumerator procedures disallows that. If a respondent refuses and a proxy is able to give any of the information no matter how knowledgeable he/she is that doesn’t constitute marking it as a refusal, skewing the accuracy of the data.

The incentives of career census employees at RCC and headquarters are in contradiction with each enumerator who wants our city to be accurately counted. The career census employees’ evaluation of performance is purely based on numbers how many cases are completed with little regard to the demography or difficulty of enumerating the population. Their expectation is that the enumeration of traditionally undercounted minorities of Bedford Stuyvesant be just as quick as the white, upper middle class of Upper West Side of Manhattan. The very same agency whose motto has always been the leading source of data about the nation’s people and economy has become a competition between area managers and local census offices.

The leadership in the local census offices isn’t the strongest either. Those who made hiring decisions in New York RCC had every chance to hire the best managers but instead resorted to nepotism to make decisions. When it was clear these decisions were poor the career census employees terminated LCO managers’ employment to cover it up. But then found another disappointing replacement. In an attempt to bring operations up to speed the Census Bureau flew in managers from Denver into Manhattan and headquarters to Staten Island.

The goal is for enumerators to get as many cases in and clerks process work as quickly as possible doing whatever it takes to get the job done, otherwise there will be a formal written reprimand and termination of their employment. It is the chest beating, gorilla apelike attitude of the managers that will ultimately be the demise of New York City.

Lester Farthing, the Regional Director and his managers of the New York Regional Census Center have no intention of an accurate count in the five boroughs. Instead their goal is to appease headquarters, finish as quickly as possible so that the career census employees will be viewed as productive team players who are not questioning the possible inaccuracy of this count. As one of our area managers will say “it’s a hot mess.” I only hope the mayor of our great city Michael Bloomberg, city census coordinator Stacey Cumberbatch, politicians and congressmen are reading this letter and will intervene because ultimately it is the city that will suffer for the next ten years. They were quick to make public announcements touting the importance of participating in the census by returning the forms. But have yet to do anything to persuade non cooperative households and real estate management companies to allow enumerators in to complete their job. The sad reality is that it may be too little too late.

With the way the census works can any of us ever trust census data again?

MyTwoCensus Editorial: Fingerprinting changes are long overdue because the media failed to report on the potential problems

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

For nearly a year, MyTwoCensus.com was the only media outlet reporting about the problems that the Census Bureau faced in terms of fingerprinting the 1.4 million people who were set to work for the 2010 Census. And we continue that fight today.

In December 2009, I reported that a convicted felon in Alaska was working in a supervisory position for the Census Bureau. This was discovered only after the man killed his mother and then himself. Clearly, this incident should have made calls for improved fingerprinting procedures at the Census Bureau obvious. However, the Census Bureau maintained the status quo and did nothing — fending off my questions and ignoring my concerns.

This incident occurred two months AFTER I originally posted the flaws of the 2010 Census fingerprinting process that were written by child advocate and fingerprinting expert David Allburn, who offered solutions to the Census Bureau that were ultimately refused. Allburn wrote:

(1) The Bureau should announce that trainees are responsible for the “readability” of their own fingerprints, and that fingerprint “failure” due to un-readability (or to discovery of disqualifying criminal history), terminates the canvasser’s employment. This stops attracting ex-felons who would intentionally blur their prints, but it is manifestly unfair to honest workers whose fingerprints are blurred by the inexperienced print-takers. This is fixed by step two.

(2) The Bureau should augment its fingerprint capture by adopting part of our patented “self-capture” technique. Invented by a war veteran, the method has applicants use an extra minute or two to make their own set of “backup prints”, observed and authenticated by the print-taker. Barcoded and enclosed with the cards forwarded to the scanning center, those self-captured prints are readily available for fixing any individual print impressions found “bad.” Well tested, this gets the cards through the FBI with the same dependability as live-scanning offers, typically twenty times better than the old rubber-stamp method now in use.

Only after a handicapped woman was raped by a 2010 Census employee and a sex offender was caught going door-to-door did the Census Bureau decide to change their policies. Is that what it takes to create “change” in America?

Official Census Bureau “Participation Rate” Stats/Trends/Data Available Here

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Check out this slideshow depicting recent data/trends that was shown at yesterday’s Census Bureau press conference (transcript of the press conference coming here ASAP).

MyTwoCensus Editorial: Take more questions at press conferences and fix your e-mail account!

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Yesterday, Census Bureau Director Dr. Robert M.Groves held a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington DC to answer questions from the media about 2010 Census operations. By reading media reports from across America, it is evident that most media workers don’t truly grasp what the 2010 Census is. After Dr. Groves’ gave his talk, the media had the opportunity to ask questions. The talk started at around 9:00AM and the Q&A portion of the press conference commenced at around 9:20. By 9:35 Census Bureau press spokesman Stephen Buckner ended the Q&A section when, as Buckner acknowledged, there were certainly people on the telephone who were participating in the press conference who still had questions to ask. This was wrong, as there were many questions that Dr. Groves didn’t have a chance to answer. (We will post the transcript of the press conference as soon as we get it.)

Though Mr. Buckner and the Census Bureau have stated that the media can e-mail the press office at pio@census.gov to ask further questions, that e-mail address is not currently functioning. This is the year 2010 (duh) and such a simple tech failure is inexcusable. The Public Information Office must 1. Take more questions from the media and not keep press conferences to approximately thirty minutes (rather than holding a standard one hour press conference) and 2. Fix the Census Bureau’s e-mail system immediately.

Here’s a screenshot of the failed e-mail:

MyTwoCensus Editorial: The Mainstream Media Has Failed America

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Americans have once again been failed by the mainstream media. As I have expressed, MyTwoCensus.com is essentially a one-man operation. Yet, I still manage to file more than my fair share of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to obtain significant amounts of information from the Census Bureau (and I am subsequently dragged around in circles as it takes months to actually obtain the data I request…Thanks for the transparency that you promised when you were elected, Mr. President!).

Sadly, I am essentially the only journalist who is pursuing such information from the Census Bureau, as evidenced by my tracking of FOIA requests. Local, regional, state, and national news organizations should have reporters covering the 2010 Census beat, at least during this busy time. 99% of the stories written about the 2010 Census (my humble non-scientific estimate) are fluffy pieces that remind individuals to be part of the enumeration process. Most of these articles read like press releases from the Census Bureau — because in many cases they are simply a collection of tidbits from Census Bureau press releases that are hastily thrown together. That neither traditional media organizations, new media organization, nor government watchdog non-profits and think tanks have taken investigating 2010 Census operations seriously is a major travesty, and the effects of this failure will soon be evident.

Without sounding like Clark Hoyt of the New York Times or the Ombudsman of the Washington Post, I understand that in the past week I may not have had 100% accuracy in my stories. I attribute this to many factors:

1. There is an excessive amount of information flowing in to me right now, and it is difficult to analyze it all in real time.

2. The government has been extremely unhelpful in answering my inquiries within a short amount of time.

3. The government has been lying, exaggerating, and spinning the 2010 Census to create a false image about its current rate of success, while also failing to provide solid data from the 2000 Census to use as reference points.

4. In the midst of the aforementioned problems, I have at times found it more effective to throw out information onto the Internet and let my readers correct me, since other individuals may have more knowledge than me about specific issues. I then go back and correct what is wrong. This is a method that has been used by Silicon Valley blog TechCrunch for many years now with great success. In the future, I will specifically ask for readers to verify or disprove information if I am not 100% sure of its factual accuracy.

That said, the readers of this blog have proven themselves to be an extraordinarily intelligent and insightful group of people. And without you directing me where to go, I would not have been able to make as much progress with this blog during the past 13 months as I have. I hope that this active citizen and government employee participation continues so we can achieve the best results possible for America.

Note: If any readers are interested in volunteering for this site to help me obtain and sort through more information during these busy times, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

2010 Census forms will start arriving today…

Monday, March 15th, 2010

March 15-17: Forms are mailed to most homes.

Let us know your thoughts, opinions, problems, and questions in the comments section! Thanks!

Note: The mainstream media is obviously covering this phase of 2010 Census operations pretty thoroughly, so we are only going to post reports here that highlight essential information or surprising outcomes. Right now, we are sifting through the thousands of news reports about this operation that have appeared during the past 24 hours and will continue to appear during the next few days.

“The 2010 Census Communications Contract: The Media Plan in Hard to Count Areas”

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

On Wednesday, February 24, 2010, the Information Policy, Census and National Archives Subcommittee will hold a hearing titled: “The 2010 Census Communications Contract: The Media Plan in Hard to Count Areas.” The hearing will take place in room 2154 Rayburn House Office Building.

The witnesses scheduled to testify include:

Panel I

Dr. Robert Groves
Director
United States Census Bureau

Mr. Jeff Tarakajian
Executive Vice President
DRAFTFCB

Ms. Robbyn Ennis
Senior Associate Media Director
GlobalHue

Mr. Nelson Garcia
Senior Vice President/ Media Director
GlobalHue Latino

Panel II

Ms. Karen Narasaki
Executive Director
Asian American Justice Center

Mr. Arturo Vargas
Executive Director
National Association of Latino Elected Officials

Mr. Marc Morial
President and CEO
National Urban League

Ms. Helen Hatab Samhan
Executive Director
Arab American Institute Foundation

Panel III

Mr. Marcelo Gaete-Tapia
Vice President
Entravision Communication Corporation

Mr. James L. Winston
Executive Director
National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters

Ms. Sandy Close
Executive Director
New America Media

Mr. Danny Bakewell
Chairman
National Newspaper Publishers Association

Ms. Linda Smith
Executive Director
National Association of American Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies.

Documents and Links


Opening statement of Subcommittee Chairman Wm. Lacy Clay

Prepared testimony of Dr. Robert Groves

Prepared testimony of Mr. Jeff Tarakajian

Prepared testimony of Ms. Robbyn Ennis

Prepared testimony of Mr. Nelson Garcia

Prepared testimony of Ms. Karen Narasaki

Prepared testimony of Mr. Arturo Vargas

Prepared testimony of Ms. Helen Hatab Samhan

Prepared testimony of Mr. Marcelo Gaete-Tapia

Prepared testimony of Mr. James Winston

Prepared testimony of Ms. Sandy Close

Prepared testimony of Mr. Danny Bakewell

Prepared testimony of Ms. Linda Smith

Witness List

Census Bureau to roll out ad campaign tomorrow

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

The Census Bureau is unveiling its $133-million advertising campaign tomorrow.

A Washington, D.C., event hosted by CBS sports broadcaster James Brown will kickoff the campaign, which includes television, radio, print, online and outdoor advertisements.

USA Today has a preview of what we’ll see from the Bureau’s ads in the coming weeks:

Today, the Census Bureau unveils a $133 million national advertising campaign that will debut at 9:15 p.m. ET Sunday during the Golden Globe Awards on NBC.

The money is part of $340 million the government is spending to promote the Census this year, including more than $70 million for ads targeting Hispanic, black, Asian and other ethnic markets.

The campaign chiefly targets the 84% of the U.S. population that consumes English-language media, but ads on billboards, radio and TV and in magazines and newspapers will circulate in 27 other languages.

The first of five TV ads directed by actor/writer Christopher Guest (This is Spinal Tap,Best in Show) showcases Guest’s signature style — using dry wit to showcase life’s absurdities.

In the first ad airing Sunday, a film director played by Ed Begley Jr. announces with dramatic flourish his latest ambitious project: Creating a portrait of “every man, woman and child in this beautiful country of ours.” The ad ends with two people whispering: “Isn’t that what the Census is doing?”

The campaign will feature different themes, says Jeff Tarakajian, executive vice president at Draftfcb, the lead ad agency, which is working with subcontractors who specialize in specific ethnic groups.

One theme is “10 questions, 10 minutes” to highlight the ease of filling out the form.

Another ad will have a crowd cheering as someone walks to a mailbox to send in the form.

Follow up: Transcript from Robert M. Groves conference call

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

There were some technical glitches during a media conference call last week with Census Bureau director Robert M. Groves about the status of the 2010 Census.

Stephen got dropped off the call, and we wrote an editorial criticizing the Bureau’s technical problems with the conference call and failure to make a transcript available.

This afternoon, Stacy Gimbel of the Census Bureau responded in the comments to the editorial with this link to the transcript of the briefing (as a pdf).

Some highlights from the end of the call:

  • In response to a question on the economy, Groves said the recession has led to a larger applicant pool for Census workers, but the vacancy rate (due to foreclosures) means forms will be sent to addresses where no one lives.
  • According to Groves, self-identification questions (such as about ethnicity) change on almost every Census form. The Bureau wants people to write-in how they identify themselves if none of the provided options apply.
  • And some upcoming key dates: Census road tour begins Jan. 4, media kickoff event in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 14, paid media ads start airing Jan. 18, Groves travels to Alaska for the first enumeration of a remote village on Jan. 25.

Census Bureau to buy Super Bowl ad

Saturday, December 19th, 2009

Media Post is reporting that the Census Bureau will advertise during the Super Bowl in February.

The Bureau is expected to spend more than $300 million on marketing this year, with a significant portion of that devoted to paid advertising.

The article explains why the Super Bowl ad is important for the Census Bureau:

The Feb. 7 game on CBS comes soon after the Census kicks off a $300 million-plus outreach campaign. And importantly, just a few weeks before the Bureau begins disseminating its questionnaires.

The Super Bowl offers a chance to swiftly reach a massive amount of the U.S. audience. Last year, 151.6 million people — about half of the U.S. population — watched at least a portion of the game. On average, the game was seen in 48 million homes and viewed by 98.7 million people.

The Bureau also ran a spot in the 2000 Super Bowl.

Live-blogging a conference call with Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves…

Monday, December 14th, 2009

10:00 – pretty sure the census bureau dropped the ball on this one because i called back in and the line is dead…either the call is over or more likely the census bureau/call center made some sort of error…

9:55 – KNOCKED OFF THE CALL…did it go dead? my line is still working fine…come on!

9:52 – Question: Why don’t you mention single, unattached people under age 30 as a hard-to-count group?

9:31 – 134 million addresses in the USA. As of now, they are 2% points high, compared to 5% high in the 2000 address…there were more duplicates then.

9:29 – go in pairs, with escorts, in high crime areas (for census enumerators)…

9:28 – safety in america: FBI NAME-CHECK…ALL APPLICANTS UNDERGOING FINGERPRINTING…on criminal history check, any convinces for major crimes such as grand theft, child molestation…etc…”if there are convictions of less serious crimes then the applicant can be hired if they don’t pose a risk to the american public”  – With so many people OUT OF WORK who don’t have felonies, why would you hire felons????

9:26 – Over 3.8 million people are being recruited for 1.2 million through 1.4 million people. 700,000 people working for the largest operation, Non-Response Follow Up from May through July 2010.

9:21 – Complete Count Committees forming…who ensures that there is bi-partisan representation on these 9,100 committees (37 in states). But are they bipartisan and independent?

9:20 – 135,000 partner organizations with the 2010 census…here’s one who’s not a partner anymore: ACORN

9:18 – 3 large processing centers open

9:17 – Grovesy talks about the ad campaign that’s getting started. Starting enumeration in Alaska in January. In March, most of the US population receives their forms. April 1 is Census Day (and April Fools Day…ah)…people should return their forms by this day. Otherwise the door-knockers will come knock knock knocking…some talk of reapportionment. In April 2011 the state-redistricting data for local/regional races is distributed.

9:16 – Grovesy’s giving us a quick history lesson about the Census….founding fathers yadda yadda…yawn

9:15 – Dr. Groves is in da house so to speak for the second operational press briefing (shouldn’t we have more of these?)

9:15 – 2010 Census PR Man Stephen Buckner is on the line…

9:13 – We are still standing by…this hold music is now reminiscent of terrible elevator rides.

9:07 – Kind of enjoying the jazz rendition of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer…on second thought, take as much time as you need to start this call.

9:05 – Come on Grovesy…I’m hungry for answers. (Still waiting for call to begin…)

8:59  – Call should begin shortly…

** CENSUS BUREAU MEDIA ADVISORY **

Census Bureau Director to Provide Update on
Status of 2010 Census Operations

What:         U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves will brief the media on the status of 2010 Census operations. Groves will provide an assessment of the Master Address File, which serves as the source of addresses for mailing and delivering more than 130 million 2010 Census forms next March. He will also provide  updates on outreach activities and other logistical operations under way.  The briefing will include a question-and-answer session.

When:        Monday, Dec. 14, 9 – 10 a.m. (EST)

Where:        National Press Club, 13th floor
Fourth Estate Restaurant
529 14th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20045

Members of the media may also participate by telephone. (Please dial-in early to allow time for the operator to place you in the call.)

The Suitland Files: Inside The Census Bureau (Part 2)

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

I apologize for taking so long to post the second half of the series that I started nearly two weeks ago, but I’ve been traveling extensively and things were getting quite hectic. Without further ado, I present to you an inside look into my meeting with top communications/public relations/press officials at the Census Bureau’s HQ in Washington, DC:

After making idle chit-chat about Europe, climate change, and Dr. Groves’ travel habits (like any good reporter, I try to extract information wherever possible) for more than half an hour with two private security guards inside their security booth on the perimeter of the Census Bureau’s fenced off headquarters (they refused to let me sit on a bench outside even though it was a warm day…), I was greeted by Derick Moore (who Steve Jost authorizes to make the official Census Bureau comments on MyTwoCensus posts) and Eun Kim, a new Census Bureau PR official who until very recently was a DC reporter for Gannett (hmmm…I wonder why she jumped over to the dark side…).

After clearing a round of metal detectors, I made my way up the elevator with my two aforementioned handlers. I was led to a waiting room where I made some chit chat with Derick and Eun who each told me about their careers in private sector media. (I pray every day that the allure of a solid government salary with good benefits doesn’t one day catch up with me too…) Steve Jost, chowing down on a sandwich and french fries, returned and had us follow him into his office. We all sat down, with me at the head of the table. With white hair and a bit of scruff on his face, Jost wasn’t the devilish and egotistical Nazi I expected he might be, but rather a jovial guy who immediately poked fun at my comments about him on this site. I replied that I made those comments when I was thousands of miles away in the safety of my own home, and I had never expected to be sitting down with him in person. But I had no regrets. My job is to be a watchdog, and a vigilant watchdog I will be.

Last to arrive at our meeting was Stephen Buckner, the mouthpiece of the 2010 Census (spokesman) who had the boyish charm of a high school quarterback. I’m sure that fifteen years ago he easily cruised his way to a victory during elections for homecoming king.

Jost was the leader of this round-table, so between french fries he started firing off all of the positive accomplishments that he and his team have made, while clearly avoiding any of the shortcomings. Here’s a rundown of the most interesting things that he said:

1. High unemployment rates and homeowners losing their homes to foreclosure will cause problems with the 2010 Census.

2. The hardest group to count is “young, unattached people” who move frequently, only have cell phones, are between jobs or studies, etc. — NOT immigrants or minorities, as one might expect from all of the Census Bureau’s hard-to-count group advertising…(MyTwoCensus will investigate this further in the near future!)

3. The Census Bureau has created a series of ads using pop music…get ready to find these on your TV screens starting in early January.

4. The participation rate in the Census increased for the first time since 1970 in 2000, despite general trends that fewer and fewer people are involved in civic activities like voting, performing jury duty, etc. Hopefully they can once again reverse this trend in 2010.

5. 95% of media consumers will be reached multiple times by 2010 Census advertising campaigns.

6. 53% of 2010 Census advertising is local. 47% is national. (Note: MyTwoCensus has not heard back yet as to whether our proposal to let the Census Bureau advertise for the 2010 Census on this site was accepted…)

7. Spoiler Alert: Sesame Street will be featuring a 2010 Census storyline via The Count and Rosita characters.

8. 2010.Census.gov was redesigned.

9. Though 173 forms of social media have been integrated with Census Bureau awareness efforts, no I-Phone Application has been created for the 2010 Census.

10. The 2010 Census forms will be mailed to all households in America (hopefully) on March 17, 2010. (Let’s hope drunken St. Patty’s day revelers don’t interfere with the efforts of the U.S. Postal Service…)

11. When selecting advertisements for the 2010 Census, the Census Bureau asks the creative directors of 12 different advertising firms to submit proposals via a “creative rumble.”

12. Hopefully there won’t be a repeat of the 2000 Advance Letter Debacle in 2010…

13. There will be extra Census Bureau staff in New Orleans to personally hand deliver 2010 Census questionnaires to every household.

14. The address canvassing portion of the 2010 Census provided data that there are approximately 134 million individual housing units in the US, down from original estimates of 140 million.

15. Many addresses in places like Las Vegas where construction on homes was started but never finished have been deleted from the 2010 Census rolls.

16. Very, very, very few people hired to work for the Census Bureau as temporary workers have quit during the 2009-2010 cycle, as other jobs are extremely scarce.

17. On November 17 at 9:30am, Dr. Robert M. Groves will be holding his next monthly “State of the 2010 Census” address…

I was given some handouts (drawings of a 2010 Census logo on a NASCAR racecar that will be unveiled soon), portions of powerpoints (that showed me data about levels of Census participation), and had the opportunity to see one of the hip-hop music based commercials that was recently shot in LA and will soon be airing nationwide. It was a smooth operation, and my questions were answered well. Were the answers necessarily honest? No. But did the PR team effectively do their jobs to give give off the image of squeaky clean 2010 Census communications operations? Absolutely.

Census predicts fall in response rate

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

H/t to USA Today for the following:

Turbulent political and economic times roiling the nation are expected to diminish initial participation by households in next year’s Census despite a $326 million marketing blitz that far outspends previous Census campaigns.

Mounting mistrust of government, rising identity theft and record numbers of foreclosures could discourage people from mailing back Census forms next year, according to the Census Bureau.

A Census analysis shows that about 64% of households are likely to mail in their forms without additional prodding from Census workers — down from 67% in 2000. That could mean 4 million more doors to knock on.

CENSUS STRATEGY: Reaching hard-to-count residents

CENSUS NUMBERS: Interactive look at 2008 data

A quick note from the editor…

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

Personally, I believe that the debate in Congress about the 2010 Census being altered to require that only citizens are counted is nonsense. This movement only has traction from elected officials who feel their seats are threatened by immigrants. It will not go far. I am surprised that the media is giving it so much hype. There must not be anything else to discuss. Good job as usual mainstream media by blowing things out of proportion!

Cheap Advertising Available For Those Who Wish To Send Pro-2010 Census Message

Monday, October 19th, 2009
I received the following letter from Blulinemedia, a 2010 Census partner that plans to donate unsold advertising space on busses across the nation to organizations who want to spread pro-2010 Census messages (at significant discounts):

As a 2010 Census national partner, we have unsold advertising space to donate on municipal/city bus INTERIORS in various markets

for an advertising term of Feb. – Apr. 2010 for 2010 Census messages (i.e., encouraging citizens to participate and be counted).

DONATED AD TERM
Feb. – Apr. ’10 (3 months)

COSTS TO PRINT

The ad space is donated to each participating organization.

Each participating organization is responsible for design of the artwork and the cost to print the ads.

Below is the cost to print for each market:

Market with 200 buses: $4,872 (retail value: $14,950 to $19,950, depending on the market).

Market with 100 buses: $3,872 (retail value: $12,950 to $17,950, depending on the market).

Market with 50 buses: $2,872 (retail value: $10,950 to $14,950, depending on the market).

All printing has to come through Blu Line Media, pursuant to contracts with the bus companies.

ARTWORK

Artwork due date:

Dec. 21, 2009

Size: 27″ wide by 11″ high

Live area: 26″ wide by 10″ high

Format: High-res. PDF

DPI: 300

Delivery: email to dannyp@blulinemedia.net

AVAILABLE NATIONWIDE MARKETS

(Parentheticals indicate the number of minimum buses to use in a market)

Alabama
Birmingham (100)

Arizona
Phoenix (200)
Tempe (100)
Tucson (200)

Arkansas
Little Rock (100)

California
Davis (100)
Sacramento (200)
Stockton (100)
Modesto (50)
Marin (incl. San Rafael) (50)
San Francisco (200)
East Bay (Contra Costa County, incl. Concord & Walnut Creek) (200)
East Bay (Alameda County, incl. Oakland) (200)
San Mateo County (incl. Redwood City) (200)
Santa Clara Valley (incl. San Jose & Silicon Valley) (200)
Santa Cruz (100)
Monterey (incl. Salinas) (100)
Fresno (100)
Bakersfield (100)
Ventura & Santa Barbara Counties (200)
Los Angeles County, North (incl. San Gabriel Valley and Pasadena) (200)
Los Angeles County, West (incl. Santa Monica) (200)
Los Angeles County, South and East (incl. downtown Los Angeles and Long Beach) (200)
Los Angeles County, South Bay (incl. Torrance & the Beach Cities) (200)
Los Angeles County, Suburban (San Fernando Valley) (200)
Lancaster (100)
Coachella Valley (50)
Inland Empire (incl. San Bernardino & Riverside Counties) (200)
Orange County (200)
San Diego County, North (incl. Oceanside & Del Mar) (200)
San Diego County, Central, Eastern & Southern (200)

Colorado
Aspen and surrounding communities (100)
Colorado Springs (50)
Fort Collins (50)
Mesa County (incl. Grand Junction) (50)
Denver (200)

Connecticut
Bridgeport (50)
Hartford (200)
New Haven (incl. Wallingford) (100)
Norwalk (50)
Stamford (50)
Waterbury (a/k/a Central Naugatuck Valley), New Britain, Bristol, and Meriden (50)

Delaware
State of Delaware (200)

Florida
Broward County (incl. Fort Lauderdale) (200)
Daytona Beach (50)
Ft. Myers (Lee County) (50)
Gainesville (100)
Jacksonville (200)
Manatee County (incl. Brandenton) (50)
Melbourne (100)
Miami (200)
Orlando (200)
Palm Beach (100)
Sarasota (50)
Clearwater (incl. St Petersburg) (200)
Tallahassee (100)
Tampa (200)

Georgia
Atlanta (200)
Augusta (100)
Gwinnett County (incl. Lawrenceville) (50)
Savannah (50)

Hawaii
Island of Oahu (City of Honolulu routes) (200)
Island of Oahu (Rural routes) (200)

Idaho
Boise (50)

Illinois
Champaign (100)
Chicago (200)
Chicago, Suburban (incl. Arlington Heights and Skokie) (200)
Macomb (50)
Madison County (incl. Granite City) (100)
Peoria (100)
Rockford (50)
Rock Island County (incl. Moline) (100)
St. Clair County (incl. E. St. Louis, IL) (200)

Indiana
Bloomington (50)
Fort Wayne (50)
Gary (50)
Indianapolis (200)
Lafayette (100)
Muncie (50)
South Bend (50)

Iowa
Ames (100)
Des Moines (100)

Kansas
Topeka (50)
Wichita (50)

Kentucky
Lexington (50)
Louisville (200)
Northern Kentucky (incl. Ft. Wright) (100)

Louisiana
Baton Rouge (100)
Lafayette (50)
New Orleans (100)

Maryland
Annapolis (50)
Baltimore (200)
College Park (100)
Montgomery County (200)
Prince George County (100)

Mass.
Amherst (100)
Boston (200)
Brockton (50)
New Bedford – Fall River (100)
Springfield (incl. N. Hampton and Univ. of Mass.) (200)
Worcester (100)

Michigan
Ann Arbor (100)
Detroit, City of (200)
Detroit, Suburban (200)
Flint (200)
Grand Rapids (100)
Kalamazoo (50)

Minnesota
Burnsville (50)
Duluth (100)
Minneapolis-St. Paul (200)
St. Cloud (50)

Missouri
Kansas City (200)
Springfield (50)
St. Louis (200)

Nebraska
Omaha (200)

Nevada
Las Vegas (200)
Reno (100)
Stateline (incl. Lake Tahoe) (50)

New Hampshire
Concord (50)

New Jersey
Gateway Region (200)
Skylands Region (200)
Shore Region (200)
Delaware River Region (200)
Greater Atlantic City Region (200)
Southern Shore Region (200)

New Mexico
Albuquerque (200)
Las Cruces (50)
Santa Fe (50)

New York
Albany (200)
Binghamton (100)
Buffalo-Niagara (200)
Ithaca (50)
Nassau County (Long Island) (200)
Rochester (200)
Rome-Utica (50)
Suffolk County (Long Island) (200)
Syracuse (200)
Westchester County (200)

New York City
Bronx, The (200)
Brooklyn (200)
Manhattan (200)
Queens (200)
Staten Island (200)

North Carolina
Chapel Hill (100)
Charlotte (200)
Durham (50)
Greensboro (50)
Winston-Salem (50)

Ohio
Akron (100)
Canton (100)
Cincinnati (200)
Cleveland (200)
Columbus (200) (call for availability)
Dayton (200) (call for availability)
Toledo (200)

Oklahoma
Oklahoma City (50)
Tulsa (100)

Oregon
Albany (100)
Corvallis (50)
Eugene (100)
Portland (200)
Salem (100)

Pennsylvania
Allentown (100)
Cambria County (incl. Johnstown) (50)
Erie (100)
Harrisburg (100)
Lancaster (50)
Monroe County (50)
Philadelphia (200)
Reading (50)
Scranton (50)
State College (incl. surrounding townships) (50)
Williamsport (50)

Puerto Rico
San Juan (200)

Rhode Island
Providence (200)

South Carolina
Charleston (100)
Columbia (100)
Greenville/Spartanburg (100)

Tennessee
Chattanooga (50)
Clarksville (50)
Knoxville (100)
Memphis (200)
Nashville (200)

Texas
Austin (200)
Corpus Christi (100)
Dallas (200)
Fort Worth (200)
El Paso (200)
Houston (200)
Laredo (50)
Denton County (incl. Lewisville) (50)
Lubbock (50)
San Antonio (200)

Utah
Logan (50)
Park City (50)
Salt Lake City (200)

Virginia
Alexandria (100)
Arlington (50)
Fairfax (200)
Hampton-Norfolk-Virginia Beach (200)
Loudoun County (incl. Leesburg) (50)
Richmond (200)
Roanoke (50)
Williamsburg (100)
Woodbridge (50)

Washington
Bellingham (50)
Bremerton (100)
Everett (200)
Grays Harbor (50)
Jefferson (100)
Kenosha (50)
Olympia (50)
Richland (50)
Seattle, North (200)
Seattle, Central (200)
Seattle, South (200)
Spokane (200)
Tacoma (200)
Vancouver (100)
Wenatchee (Chelan and Douglas Counties) (50)
Yakima (50)

Washington D.C.
Washington D.C. (200)

West Virginia
Charleston (100)

Wisconsin
La Crosse (50)
Madison (200)
Milwaukee (200)
Racine (50)
Waukesha (50)

Please call or write with questions. I’m happy to help.

Danny Pouladian
Blu Line Media
310-729-5190
www.blulinemedia.net
dannyp@blulinemedia.net

Update on 2010 Census Media Campaign: October 15th Deadline

Monday, October 5th, 2009

Check out the following press release/call for media companies to do biz with the Census Bureau:

The 2010 Census will provide a once-in-a-decade snapshot of the nation’s population which is mandated by the U.S. Constitution. The information collected during the census assists government leaders in making historic decisions, such as the apportionment of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. The data are also used to help distribute more than $400 billion in federal funds back to state and local governments each year. Information from the census is used to determine where to fund infrastructure projects such as roads, hospitals and schools.

The 2010 Census will be “short form-only.” In March, households will receive a form that asks just a few questions, such as number of people in household, race/ethnicity and age.

  • Announcement Letter: March 8th – March 10th
  • Initial mail out of form: March 15th – 17th
  • Replacement Questionnaire mailed: April 1st – April 10th
  • Reminder Postcard mailed: April 22nd – April 24th
  • In-home follow up to non-responders: May 1st – July 10th

In order to inform everyone about the 2010 Census and its importance, the U.S. Census Bureau has developed an integrated communications campaign (ICC) that includes paid media, earned media, a national partnership program and the Census in Schools program. The three goals of the ICC are:

  1. Increasing mail response
  2. Improving accuracy and reducing the differential undercount
  3. Improving cooperation with enumerators

Our prime contractor, DraftFCB and their partner agencies have developed the Paid Media Plan, described in this document, to make the 2010 Census the most pervasive message everywhere, especially during the mail-out/mail-back phase in March and April 2010. The Plan was created with the work of eight partner media agencies, will encompass multiple languages and reach into every market across the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

Paid Media Plan Summary

The Paid Media Plan encompasses all media types and is skewed towards those segments of the populations that are considered hard to count (HTC; less likely to respond). The media habits and interests of these population groups drive when and where media will be purchased.

Paid media will be purchased for:

  • Television
  • Radio
  • Interactive
  • Outdoor & transit
  • Print (Newspaper and Magazines)

Paid media materials were developed in multiple languages to ensure that everyone is reached with relevant communications. DraftFCB, in concert with the partner agencies below, developed paid media plans designed to incite mass participation in the 2010 Census.

  • Mass audience, all English – DraftFCB
  • African-American/Black African/Caribbean/Haitian – GlobalHue
  • Hispanic (Spanish Language National) – GlobalHue Latino
  • Hispanic (Spanish Language Local)- d. Exposito & Partners
  • Asian – IW Group
  • American Indian/Alaska Native – G&G Advertising
  • Native Hawaiian, Other Pacific Islander- G&G Advertising
  • Emerging Audiences (Russian, Polish and Arabic) – Allied Media Group
  • Puerto Rico – DraftFCB Puerto Rico

Local Market Coverage

National efforts will cover all the markets however specific local markets will be identified for incremental support designed to reach the Hard to Count populations as part of the RFP process.

Paid Media Campaign Phases

The paid media campaign will occur in three phases:

  1. January-February 2010 (Awareness/Education)
    Goal: Build immediate awareness and provide educational information
  2. March-April 2010 (Motivation/Participation)
    Goal: Inspire and motivate everyone to complete the census questionnaire
  3. May-June 2010 (Support census workers when they knock on doors of those households who did not return the census questionnaire. Also known as “non-response follow up)
    Goal: encourage participation with the census workers

All target segments require awareness of Census benefits and prompting to participate, but specific communication strategies are needed to ensure highest participation levels.

Paid Media Buying Phases

  • 2010 Census Paid Media negotiations will occur in two phases:
    1. Census Upfront – Appropriate Contractors will negotiate multi-platform deals with large companies such as Time Warner, Disney ABC, etc. to negotiate the best pricing, placements and added value for the Campaign. These negotiations will begin in May because of the longer lead time needed to develop integrated programs and is in line with industry practice for national television negotiations.
    2. All Other Media Buying – Given the number of potential media vendors, Contractors will begin their outreach efforts to solicit information starting in June. Negotiations and commitments for all other media such as “scatter” national TV, local TV and radio, magazines, newspaper, Internet and outdoor will not be finalized until October – November.

All media vendors will have a fair opportunity to submit proposals via a questionnaire (provided below). This questionnaire and other request for proposals will be part of the buying process. If you are interested in participating, please fill out the following questionnaire. The deadline to submit your information is: October 15, 2009.

(Click here for link to questionnaire)

Full disclosure: As the only private web site in the world that focuses its content on the 2010 Census, MyTwoCensus.com just applied to be a media partner with the 2010 Census, as this would satisfy our original stated goal of creating the most accurate 2010 Census possible, particularly because we trust this site as a source of information and ads more than we trust other media companies.

Census Bureau Press Release: Independent Panel Commends the 2010 Census Paid Media Plan

Monday, September 21st, 2009

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Census Bureau today announced that an independent
panel of five distinguished marketing and communications scholars
unanimously agreed that both industry and academic best practices were used
to develop the paid media portion of the 2010 Census Integrated
Communications Campaign.

“My overall assessment is that the processes to develop the 2010 Census
Integrated Communications Campaign are fundamentally sound,” said Academic
Assessment Panel Chair Dr. Jerome D. Williams, the F.J. Heyne Centennial
Professor in Communication at the University of Texas at Austin. “I feel
the Census Bureau and the DraftFCB team have done an exceptional job and
are to be applauded for what has been developed so far under very
challenging conditions.”

The Census Bureau formed the Academic Assessment Panel in April 2009 to
evaluate the methods used to define and develop the communications
campaign.

This was the first time the Census Bureau has commissioned an objective
panel to review the communications campaign’s work prior to the conclusion
of the decennial census. It is yet one more additional element in a very
extensive external review process by the Bureau, which includes the
Congress, formal advisory committees, stakeholder groups, representatives
of the Census Regional offices, and the Department of Commerce. Obtaining
recommendations from a panel of academic experts at this early juncture
allowed the Census Bureau sufficient time to employ their recommendations
before the media implementation plans were finalized.

“The Academic Assessment Panel’s recommendations have enhanced the 2010
Census Communications Campaign,” said Raul E. Cisneros, the Census Bureau’s
2010 Census Publicity Office Chief. “Their completely independent and
objective review allowed us to look at the work done to date on the
campaign with fresh eyes and make improvements and refinements where
needed,” Cisneros said.

“The Census Bureau must count everyone in this country once, only once,
and in the right place, and a robust and effective communications campaign
is vital to help us reach that goal. We are grateful for the very serious
and intensive work the panel undertook in a short time frame,” added
Cisneros.

The 2010 Census Integrated Communications Campaign is comprised of paid
advertising, public relations, partnerships, online interaction and a
Census in Schools program that have been designed and guided at every step
of the process by detailed research. Each of these components will be
crucial to increasing the public’s awareness of the 2010 Census and
motivating participation in the decennial enumeration.

Draftfcb Press Release

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Our friends at Draftfcb sent us the following info:

Aug 26, 2009 15:32 ET

Draftfcb Issues Call for Interested Media Properties Regarding 2010 Census Media Buy

NEW YORK, NY–(Marketwire – August 26, 2009) – Draftfcb announced background and further specifics today for all media properties interested in competing for a piece of the Census 2010 media buy. Draftfcb is the prime contractor for Census 2010 Integrated Communications Campaign.

All media vendors and properties have a fair opportunity to submit their company for consideration for the paid media campaign. Negotiations and commitments for the majority of the buy will not conclude until November 2009 and may continue into 2010. Any interested vendors, must submit their information at the following URL:

http://www.census.gov/procur/www/2010communications

Draftfcb and its partner agencies are looking forward to full and complete competition for this historic campaign. Interested vendors can also find details such as paid media plan summary, campaign phases and media buying timelines at the designated link.

The 2010 Census paid media campaign will be one of the broadest and far-reaching communications efforts undertaken by the U.S. Government. It will include advertising in 28 languages and will employ media such as television, radio, print and digital across the nation, Puerto Rico and U.S. Island Areas. The paid media campaign is part of an overall integrated campaign that includes partnerships, web sites, a Census in Schools program and earned media.

About Draftfcb:

Draftfcb is a modern agency model for clients seeking creative, accountable marketing programs that build business and deliver a high Return on Ideas(SM). With more than 136 years of combined expertise, the company has its roots in both consumer advertising and behavioral, data-driven direct marketing. The agency is the first global, behavior-based, holistic marketing communications organization to operate against a single P&L, and it places equal emphasis on creativity and accountability. The Draftfcb network spans 97 countries, with more than 9,600 employees worldwide, and is part of the Interpublic Group of Companies (NYSE: IPG). The agency’s global corporate leadership team includes Howard Draft, executive chairman; Laurence Boschetto, CEO and president; Jonathan Harries, vice chairman and worldwide chief creative officer; and Neil Miller, CFO. For more information, visit www.draftfcb.com.